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How to Trim a Fruit Tree

Without trimming, fruit trees will not develop proper shape and form and will not produce high yields. There are two types of trimming that you should be concerned with: dormant pruning and summer training.


  • Step 1: Use proper tools Use sharp pruning or lopping shears on young trees and a pruning saw for mature trees.
  • Step 2: Train young trees in summer Train young trees in the summer. Eliminate upright branch angles, which can cause limbs to break under a heavy fruit load.
  • Step 3: Prune while trees are dormant Prune fruit trees while the tree is dormant, before growth activity begins.
  • TIP: The wounds left by pruning heal best during dormancy.
  • Step 4: Remove dead wood Remove dead wood and broken branches, and then remove branches that rub against each other.
  • TIP: Prune vertical branches, leaving the horizontal ones. Also remove suckers from around the base of the tree. Cut close to a bud or joint, without leaving a stub.
  • Step 5: Remove branches from the center of tree Prune branches from the center of the tree to allow sunlight to reach the lower fruiting branches for almond, apricot, cherry, fig, nectarine peach, persimmon, plum, pomegranate and prune trees.
  • Step 6: Shape apple and pear trees Shape apple and Asian pear trees like a Christmas tree when pruning so that lower branches are wider than upper ones. This lets sunlight reach lower branches from the sides.
  • FACT: The fig tree has been cultivated for its fruit since at least 5,000 B.C.E. Evidence of fig cultivation has been found during excavations of Neolithic sites.

You Will Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Lopping shears
  • Pruning saw

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